Term Paper: Compare North Africa to Sub-Saharan

Pages: 3 (873 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Literature - African  ·  Buy This Paper


The diverse continent of African can be conveniently divided into two geographically, historically, and culturally distinct regions: Northern, or Saharan Africa, and the larger sub-Saharan portion. Nations in Northern Africa include Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Sudan, and Tunisia, nations with mainly Berber or Muslim Caucasian populations and close ties to the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The Sahara desert not only characterizes the topology, climate, and agriculture of this region but also serves as a geographic border demarcating these nations from the rest of the continent. Sub-Saharan Africa basically includes all the territories and nations south of Northern Africa, from Angola to Zimbabwe. The several African island nations and territories such as Madagascar and Mauritius are also considered to be part of Sub-Saharan Africa based on their sharing more in common with Sub-Saharan than Northern Africa. Although the differences between North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa are most marked by language, culture, and history, the geography, climate, economies, natural resources, systems of government, and level of technological development also distinguish these two vast regions of the globe.

The Ottoman conquests of North Africa dramatically altered the character of the continent. However, thousands of years prior to the Ottoman Empire, the Romans had occupied North Africa, leaving a cultural legacy that contributed to the demarcation of North from Sub-Saharan Africa. The Sahara Desert undoubtedly hindered the conquest of regions below it, but so did the presence of tropical diseases such as malaria. North Africa became more Caucasian in character especially after the Middle ages, when the Ottomans took hold there, introducing Berber and Arabic languages and the Muslim religion. Black Africans continuously migrated south, which is why the majority of North African peoples today remain Caucasian and Muslim while a vast portion of those people in Sub-Saharan Africa remain Black and tied to their ancient religious traditions. Sub-Saharan Africa is too diverse to sum up simply, but generally the ethnic makeup consists of mainly black persons from a wide range of cultures and religions. Moreover, sub-Saharan Africans speak hundreds of different languages. The current national divisions were in large part artificially constructed since European colonialism; prior to colonial conquests from the French, British, Spanish, Belgians, and other Western European powers sub-Saharan Africa consisted of a number of wealthy, powerful kingdoms and intricate societal structures.

Today sub-Saharan Africa languishes in abject poverty, disease, political corruption, and racial tension. Sub-Saharan Africa consists of some of the least developed nations in the world. Many Sub-Saharan nations only practice subsistence agriculture, whereas some North African nations produce crops for export. However, the nation of South Africa remains the economic bastion of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Compare North Africa to Sub-Saharan."  Essaytown.com.  November 12, 2004.  Accessed September 15, 2019.